As a chinchilla guardian you need to find a veterinarian before there is an emergency and ask the hospital questions as to their experience and knowledge of caring for chinchillas. You are the final judge in choosing the right veterinarian for your chinchilla's health care. See veterinarians listed below.
What qualities to look for in a chinchilla veterinarian:
- You want a doctor who has experience with exotic animals, preferably one that is exotic certified.
- They should already have experience with treating chinchillas. You really don't want your chinchilla to be the first one the doctor has seen.
- If you call the vet to make an appointment and the staff who answers the phone has to ask someone if they even see chinchillas, that is a bad sign, find another hospital to go to.
- If you go to a vet who you believe sees chinchillas, but when you get there the vet tech or vet remarks how this is the first chinchilla they have seen, find another veterinarian! Remember, if you have to leave your chin at the hospital, the vech techs are usually the ones caring for your chin.
- They should be compassionate, patient and very comfortable with handling a chinchilla.
- You want a doctor who really listens to what you are telling them about your chinchilla's symptoms and they should be open to your suggestions even if they prescribe another form of treatment.
- If a doctor suggests giving oral Penicillin to your chinchilla, find another doctor and hospital. This is deadly to chinchillas.
- You want a vet that is compassionate to any pain your chinchilla may be experiencing due to illness or medical procedures. Metacam is most commonly used for pain and inflammation. Don't let a vet tell you that animals have a higher threshold of pain and no relief is needed. They may hide pain better than people do, but that does not mean they don't suffer from it. Pain management has a lot to do with recovery time.
- If your chinchilla needs to be anesthetized for surgery, ask what method will be used. Isoflurane Gas (masked) is the safest method for chinchillas.
- A good chinchilla vet should be able to take x-rays of any kind at their hospital and be able to read them. Full body or teeth x-rays should not be a problem for an experienced chin vet.
- Your vet should be willing to explain what treatment is recommended, why and the duration.
- If you don't understand your vet's diagnosis or a procedure he/she may suggest, don't hesitate to ask questions. A good vet will want you to understand your chinchilla's condition.
- If medication/treatment is needed the vet should clearly explain to you what the medication is, the duration of time to give it and any supportive care your chinchilla may need.
This is a partial list which we hope to expand. If you know of a great veterinarian who has experience with chinchillas, please email us their information. It is up to you as a chinchilla guardian to find a veterinarian before there is an emergency and ask the hospital questions as to their experience and knowledge of caring for chinchillas.